Douglas Rushkoff's ADD: tight, smart graphic novel delivers a scathing critique of the commodification of youth culture

By Cory Doctorow

Douglas Rushkoff's graphic novel debut, "A.D.D." (Adolescent Demo Division) is a tight, action-packed comic wrapped around a serious, thought-provoking critique of the commodification of youth culture. The titular ADD is a squad of specially trained young video-game champs who are worshipped as teen idols. But while the lives of the ADD are outwardly full of glamor, and while they get all the video games they can play, they lead lives of intense misery. Hypercompetitive, locked away in a high-security compound, manipulated by the adults around them, the ADD live their lives in anticipation of "levelling up," a mysterious graduation that takes their best and brightest away to some unknown (but presumably wonderful) next life.

And of course, things aren't what they seem -- the corporation that runs ADD isn't merely an entertainment conglomerate, they have a secret agenda that's all about learning better ways to manipulate and control consumer culture. The details of this plot unfold to the dissident ADDers as well as the reader through a series of ever-more-deadly adventures.

Smart and trenchant, ADD was a great great read.


Published 6:24 am Tue, Jan 10, 2012

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About the Author

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

10 Responses to “Douglas Rushkoff's ADD: tight, smart graphic novel delivers a scathing critique of the commodification of youth culture”

  1. Trent Hawkins says:

    “Smart and trenchant, ADD was a great great.”
    a great great great?

  2. Frozen says:

    Ender meets Funzo.

  3. paul beard says:

    Wait, this is fiction? 

  4. Mladen Kalinic says:

    Computer savvy teens? Corrupt adults?  That mix simply oozes with originality.

  5. Scurra says:

    In the UK just before Christmas we got Charlie Brooker’s fantastic Black Mirror series of tv plays – a 21c. version of the Twilight Zone.  The middle one, 15 million merits, was a gloriously cynical vision of the future that awaits us all.

  6. Rob Pugh says:

    “Debut”?  What about Testament or Club Zero-G?

  7. Joe Fitzsimmons says:

    Just wanted to let you know at this point I blindly add everyone of your suggestions to my Amazon wishlist, buy them, and then read them.

  8. Douglas Rushkoff says:

    Preview coming to BoingBoing in two weeks.